Awards include the 2022 Mort Schwartz Excellence in Education Award, the Auto Care Career and Education Award, and the Impact: Four for the Future Award
Bethesda, Md.—The Auto Care Association has announced the winners of its annual awards recognizing excellence within the industry through education, innovation, and future leadership. The awards were announced during the association’s Fall Leadership Days event in Denver, and included the 2022 Mort Schwartz Excellence in Education Award, the Auto Care Career and Education (ACE) Award, and the Impact: Four for the Future Award.
2022 Mort Schwartz Excellence in Education Award Winner
The Mort Schwartz Excellence in Education Award is annually given to an individual who demonstrates a passion for advancing the concepts and programs for education and continuing education in the North American auto care industry.
This year’s Mort Schwartz Excellence in Education Award winner is John Passante, CEO and president, The Organizational Development Group.
In 1995, Passante was inducted into the Automotive Aftermarket Hall of Fame. In August 1980, he was awarded the University of Toledo Pacemaker Award. Additionally, in 2021, he received the Aftermarket Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA)’s Art Fisher Award for Excellence in Education for his commitment to education and training in the aftermarket.
Passante is currently an adjunct professor at Northwood University and the University of the Aftermarket. He was also a member of the Northwood University Board of Governors. Passante has been an adjunct professor at the University of Toledo, St. Louis University, and a guest lecturer at Bowling Green State University, University of Missouri, and Providence College. He has written a book titled “The Human Side, High-Touch Leadership in a High-Tech World,” and created the book “A Women’s Perspective on Leadership.”
2022 Auto Care Career and Education (ACE) Award Winners
The ACE (Auto Care Career and Education) Award recognizes auto care companies dedicated to excellence in education, including investing in the growth of knowledge and skills within their organization and/or throughout the industry.
Small Company category winner: The Detroit Garage, Detroit, Mich., and Florida
The Detroit Garage celebrates the successes of its employees and believes that individual career advancements are essential to company growth. Education is a multipronged approach at The Detroit Garage. It takes place in the bays, at the front counter, through social media, and in the offices of elected officials. The Detroit Garage management team meets individually with each employee to discuss their goals and to create a custom career path in which they are encouraged and financially supported every step of the way. The company encourages industry training through online offerings, Auto-Wares Group of Company training, out-of-state opportunities and anything else that will help the team with growth and development.
The Detroit Garage also works to educate its customers about the potential ramifications of failing to fight for the rights of independent auto repair shops. Its goal is to help the general public understand what life would look like without the Right to Repair.
Mid-size Company category winner: MEVOTECH, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Mevotech is committed to investing in the advancement of knowledge, skills and job satisfaction of the people within its organization and across the industry. From employee training courses to customer education programs, to train-the-trainer sessions and even hands-on in-shop demonstrations, Mevotech understands that the success of the aftermarket depends on building an environment of continuous learning. Examples of Mevotech’s internal training include its comprehensive employee onboarding program; Leadership Excellence Accreditation and Development (LEAD) Program; and MevoUniversity, which provides practical online training webinars across the organization.
Mevotech also believes in providing robust ongoing training for customers that both informs and entertains, including through its Mevotech Training Portal, dedicated landing pages, webinars, and Train-the-Trainer session. The company also has the MevoMobile program, where subject matter experts visit professional repair shops and technicians across the United States and Canada to deliver concise and highly relevant training within 15-20 minutes.
Large Company category winner: Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper, San Antonio, Texas
Continued education is a primary focus for Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper. This can be seen in its attendance at industry events and education programs, such as Aftermarket 101 and Leadership 2.0, its commitment to scholarships, virtual educational programming and in-person events.
Examples of its virtual educational programs include its monthly Up to Speed, Prodcast, and Heavy Duty Holler webinars that concentrate on training Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper members in all facets of our industry. Alliance University is also available on-demand, where in-depth automotive and commercial vehicle training is catalogued by category and supplier. In-person educational programming includes its Sales and Marketing Forum that provides three days of keynotes, trainings, and workshops.
Each year, $25,000 is granted in scholarships for Alliance shareholders, Certified Service Centers and Jobbers, as well as their families. These scholarships are executed through the University of the Aftermarket Foundation. The Alliance also awards two Leadership 2.0 scholarships each year to industry professionals. Additionally, Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper focuses on continuing education through its Technician of the Year program. Shareholders host their own regional event that culminates with headquarters hosting the national finalists to determine the winner by utilizing a custom ASE exam.
2022 Impact Award Winners
The Impact Award: Four for the Future, honors four auto care industry professionals, under the age of 40, who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership or have made remarkable strides within the auto care industry. The 2021 winners are:
This year’s winners are: Grace Hovis, Elle Lawhead, Stacey Miller and Meagan Moody.
Grace Hovis, director, marketing and training, Hovis Auto & Truck Supply, Inc.
Grace Hovis is the third generation to come into her family’s business, Hovis Auto & Truck Supply, Inc., a 17-location warehouse distributor in Western Pennsylvania. Hovis directs all marketing and training initiatives and works closely with their sales team. Coming into the industry at a young age, she sees the importance of industry involvement and building the next generation of the aftermarket. Hovis currently serves as the vice chair of the Auto Care Association’s YANG community and sits on the association’s education committee.
Hovis has been heavily involved in grassroots initiatives for Right to Repair within her own company and is a supporter of ACPAC and UAF Coffee Club. This past year, Hovis was named one of Aftermarket News’s 2022 Women at the Wheel.
Elle Lawhead, senior category manager, merchandising, AutoZone
During her six years with AutoZone, Lawhead has been recognized as a professional development leader through mentoring, training and onboarding programs. As a core team member of “AZ WIN,” she focuses on empowering AutoZone employees through book clubs, mentoring programs, International Women’s Day celebrations and more. Lawhead has served as a team lead for the Girl Scouts “GIRL event,” where she shares her passion for the automotive aftermarket.
Lawhead has served as a member of the Auto Care Association’s Women in Auto Care community since 2019 and is currently the vice chair of its committee. Lawhead has also spent the last four years as a reader for the University of the Aftermarket Foundation (UAF) scholarship foundation. Scholarship, and especially providing opportunities for those interested in entering Automotive, remain Lawhead’s passion.
Stacey Miller, vice president, communications, Auto Care Association
With nearly 15 years of experience in corporate communications, Stacey Miller leads external communications efforts on behalf of the Auto Care Association, including PR, media relations, creative, website, print, email, social and multimedia. An advocate for Right to Repair due to having a love for DIY automotive all her life, her passion centers around educating the industry and consumers about the issue and inspiring them to act.
Miller and her team have tripled consumer awareness and reach of the association and industry through strategic communications efforts such as using data-based storytelling to earn media coverage in mainstream media outlets. Individually, Miller is active in as many organizations across the aftermarket as she can be. She currently serves as a liaison for the Auto Care Association’s Marketing and Communications committee and is a member of the Automotive Communications Council. She’s also been a speaker at Women in Auto Care’s Women’s Leadership Conference as well as the Young Auto Care Network Group’s Leadership Conference. Outside of the industry, she’s served as a speaker at conferences sharing best practices in PR and case studies to educate other communications professionals. Miller is also a donor to the Auto Care Political Action Committee (ACPAC), The University of the Aftermarket Foundation, AACF and the TechForce Foundation. In 2020, she was named an inaugural Woman at the Wheel by AftermarketNews and is a three-time nominee for Women in Auto Care’s Woman of Excellence award.
Meagan Moody, head, customer strategy and marketing, North America, aftermarket, ZF Aftermarket
Joining ZF Aftermarket in 2011, Moody has always had a primary focus on the automotive aftermarket division while supporting other business units across commercial vehicle, on and off-highway, industrial and new mobility. In her role, Moody manages the daily digital market sales activities as well as driving the overall go-to market brand strategy for the ZF brands, including Lemförder, SACHS, TRW and WABCO. In addition to her management roles at ZF Aftermarket, Moody is heavily involved across the industry in multiple association committees and boards. She currently sits on the Auto Care Association’s YANG council and Market Intelligence Committee and is a member of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association’s (AASA) Marketing Executives Committee (MEC), AAPEX Events Committee and Modern Industry eXpertise (MiX).
Moody was introduced to the industry while working at her grandfather’s parts store through high school. Continuing her grandfather’s work, just in a different manner, is something that keeps her tied to the industry wholeheartedly.
To learn more about the Auto Care Association’s annual scholarships, awards and other industry recognition opportunities currently open, visit autocare.org/awards.